California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) (2017)

5019. Questions From Jurors

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5019.Questions From Jurors
If, during the trial, any of you had a question that you believed should
be asked of a witness, you were instructed to write out the question and
provide it to me through my courtroom staff. I shared your questions
with the attorneys, after which, I decided whether the question could be
asked.
If a question was asked and answered, you are to consider the answer
as you would any other evidence received in the trial. Do not give the
answer any greater or lesser weight because it was initiated by a juror
question.
If the question was not asked, do not speculate as to what the answer
might have been or why it was not asked. There are many legal reasons
why a suggested question cannot be asked of a witness. Give the
question no further consideration.
New June 2011
Directions for Use
This is an optional instruction for use if the jurors will be allowed to ask questions
of the witnesses. For a similar instruction to be given at the beginning of the trial,
see CACI No. 112, Questions From Jurors. This instruction may be modified to
account for an individual judge’s practice.
Sources and Authority
• Juror Questions Allowed. Rule 2.1033 of the California Rules of Court.
“In a proper case there may be a real benefit from allowing jurors to submit
questions under proper control by the court. However, in order to permit the
court to exercise its discretion and maintain control of the trial, the correct
procedure is to have the juror write the questions for consideration by the court
and counsel prior to their submission to the witness.” (People v. McAlister
(1985) 167 Cal.App.3d 633, 644 [213 Cal.Rptr. 271].)
• “[T]he judge has discretion to ask questions submitted by jurors or to pass those
questions on and leave to the discretion of counsel whether to ask the
questions.” (People v. Cummings (1993) 4 Cal.4th 1233, 1305 [18 Cal.Rptr.2d
796, 850 P.2d 1].)
• “The appellant urges that when jurymen ask improper questions the defendant is
placed in the delicate dilemma of either allowing such question to go in without
objection or of offending the jurors by making the objection and the appellant
insists that the court of its own motion should check the putting of such
improper questions by the jurymen, and thus relieve the party injuriously
affected thereby from the odium which might result from making that objection
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thereto. There is no force in this contention. Objections to questions, whether
asked by a juror or by opposing counsel, are presented to the court, and its
ruling thereon could not reasonably affect the rights or standing of the party
making the objection before the jury in the one case more than in the other.”
(Maris v. H. Crummey, Inc. (1921) 55 Cal.App. 573, 578–579 [204 P. 259].)
Secondary Sources
3 Witkin, California Evidence (4th ed. 2000) Presentation at Trial, § 85
Wegner et al., California Practice Guide: Civil Trials & Evidence, Ch. 7-E, Juror
Questioning of Witnesses, ¶ 7:45.10 et seq. (The Rutter Group)
4 California Trial Guide, Unit 91, Jury Deliberations and Rendition of Verdict,
§§ 91.01–91.03 (Matthew Bender)
CACI No. 5019 CONCLUDING INSTRUCTIONS
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